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Abstract

The mechanism of reproduction in mammals is very complex and in some cases is quite particular. For example in some bat species, the male presents a reproductive mechanism characterized by an annual testicular cycle that goes from recrudescence to regression (spermatogenesis to inactivity period, respectively). After recrudescence, the spermatozoa arrive at epididymis and wait to be expelled at the time of ejaculation during the mating period, which occurs some months later. Because serotonin (5-HT) has gained reproductive importance in the last years, the aim of the present study was to analyze the expression of this indolamine and both tryptophan hydroxylase and monoamine oxidase isoform A—enzymes involved in its metabolism—in Myotis velifer testes, a seasonal reproductive bat species that shows temporal asynchrony in its sexual cycle, across the principal periods of their reproductive cycle. By using both Falck–Hillarp histochemistry and immunofluorescence techniques, we found serotonin in vesicles of Leydig cells and probably Sertoli cells too; interestingly, both intracellular localization and concentration was variable across the different stages of the reproductive cycle, being lower during spermatogenesis phase and increasing during the mating phase. These results suggest that 5-HT is present in bat testes and it could play an important role in testicular function during their reproductive cycle. J. Exp. Zool. 319A:249–258, 2013. © 2013 © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.